Friday, October 21, 2011

Ninja X

So, as it turns out, Li'l Me's not only a storyteller, but he's already got an eye on getting published.  He asked me to help him put together a story today, and when we finished, he asked if I could help him put it online.

Which I can.

This tale comes to you from the mind of my 7 year old son, with only minor editing on my part.  I helped with the spelling and asked a few questions along the way, but the rest is all his.

Enjoy!


NINJA X!

In a land far, far away there lived ninjas.  They were in a war with Zorgon and his skeleton army. 

The best ninja of all was Ninja X, but he was on a secret mission to destroy Ninja XOX, a skeleton ninja with darkness in his bones and rage of terror.

The ninjas attacked Zorgon’s castle, but they were falling quickly!  The skeletons were too powerful!  Someone had to help them.  Who could save them? 

Luckily, there was one ninja who hadn’t fallen.  Ninja Nine, the lightning ninja!  The power of the sun gives him lightning powers.  Ninja Nine killed all the skeletons in the blink of an eye, but his ninja friends rose from the dead.  Ninja Nine was surrounded, but he saw something that could help him: the skeleton ray!

The skeleton ray was a huge laser that could make people rise from the dead.  Zorgon must have used it on his friends.  Ninja Nine saw it just outside Zorgon’s castle gate. 

As he ran over to it, he got grabbed and thrown into the dungeon.  He had lost! 

But suddenly, he remembered his lightning sword.  The lightning came out and broke all the bars of the cage, and he escaped. 

But then, the evil skeleton ninjas saw him as he escaped.  They came charging at him with their magic abilities. 

Suddenly, Ninja X came charging through the doors.  Ninja Nine and Ninja X worked together to defeat them and used the skeleton ray to turn them into humans again.  Then they went to Zorgon, and the biggest battle of their lives.

They found Zorgon waiting for them in the throne room, sitting in his chair with his magic sceptre. 

“Ha ha ha!” laughed Zorgon.  “You cannot defeat me!  I am the most powerful of them all!”

“No you’re not,” said Ninja X.  “We’re going to kick you in the face!” 

Zorgon waved his sceptre, and all the ninjas except Ninja X got thrown to the wall and couldn’t move.  They were trapped!

Ninja X threw all his ninja abilities at him at once: fire, water, air, lightning, earth, and even the power of darkness.  And then Zorgon had fallen. 

The ninjas had won and Zorgon was never to be seen again.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Everybody Sing!





♪♫♪ Asparagus! A-spar-a-gus!!! ♪♫♪


Yeah, I know.  I'm seeking help. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ten Years Later

“Your country’s blowing up.”

Ten years ago, on a run of the mill Tuesday afternoon, the man who would become my father-in-law called me with this message. 

Back then, I was working as a carer, long shifts with odd hours.  As luck would have it, I was off that day.  When the phone rang, I was killing time on the Playstation, navigating my way through an especially tricky bit of Crash Bandicoot. 

No greeting.  No preamble.  Just “Are you watching this?”  I think I said something like “Watching what?” and he said “Turn on your TV.  Your country’s blowing up.” 

I had moved to Ireland from my native Pennsylvania two years earlier, and it occurred to me that this might be one of those jokes I don’t get.  I’m still not sure what you’re supposed to say in this situation, but I settled for something involving “thanks” before saying good bye and hanging up.

The game was still on pause, and I almost went back in.  It took me ages to get that far, and I hadn’t reached a save point yet.  Instead, I left the game on pause and changed the channel.

I flicked to the news and was met by a tight view of smoke billowing from a huge hole in the side of the World Trade Center.  Commentators were saying something about rescues and emergency services.

I was underwhelmed.  Not that it wasn’t a big deal, just oversold.  A burning skyscraper, even a famous one, hardly lives up to “Your country’s blowing up.”  Even when they switched cameras and I got my first clear view of the other tower burning as well, I nearly switched back to the game.  This looked like just another overhyped infotainment spectacle from a nation that turned a slow drive in a white Ford Bronco into an international media event. 

I was going for the remote, had my thumb on the button, when the South Tower collapsed into a plume of smoke and dust, and all thoughts of sensationalism fled.  Details began to seep in. 

Airplanes did this.  Someone had commandeered airliners and turned them into missiles, and in true supervillain fashion, turned them on New York.  The Pentagon too.

And this just in, another flight crashed in Pennsylvania, my home state.  Not sure where yet.  Stay tuned.

“Your country’s blowing up.”

The next hour is a blur, all shock and confusion, filled with worst case scenarios and second guessing. 

My then-fiancĂ© took a few minutes to call me from work, to see if I’d heard and to let me know she was going to be late.  She was with one of those big multinationals at the time, and she spent the day tracking down and accounting for every employee travelling that day. 

A small, selfish, petty piece of me resented her and her job that afternoon.  While I played the helpless spectator in front of my television, she was busy.  She was useful, and she was distracted. 

Mostly though, I just wanted her. 

I was somewhere 3,000 miles east of Back Home, and for the first time since moving, I felt alone.  Truly alone.  My friends, my family, they were all on the other side of the Atlantic, and the person who I most wanted to be with, the person who made coming here worthwhile, was unavailable. 

I ended up at her parents' front door, timid and small and asking if I could hang out there.  After work, my not-yet-wife joined us and we all sat together in front of the TV.  We watched the very same news recycling over and over in the absence of new insights and developments. 

I didn’t remember to switch off Crash Bandicoot until morning.

After ten years, ten years of fear and anger and confusion and controversy, after all this time, I’m still in mourning.  For the 3,000 dead, yes, but for so much more.  Ten years ago, the place I called Home disappeared under a wave of dominoes set in motion by four passenger airplanes. 

“Your country’s blowing up.”

He was right.  My country did blow up that day, and it kept burning in the months and years that followed.  In its place is a foreign land, with strange ways and customs.   The fact that it so closely resembles the place I knew makes me even sadder.  Familiarity makes it hard to overlook the scars, hard to ignore the shell shock. 

I haven’t crossed the Atlantic in over a decade.  I’ve never submitted to a pat down, never had to take off my shoes so that my fellow passengers could feel safe.  I suppose I’ll go some day, but not soon, and not to stay. 

Home means something else now.  Something closer in attitude, if not longitude, to the Home I remember, and miss, and love.    


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Every Eight Seconds 2.0

Slowly but surely getting the hang of this whole audio thing, and I decided to go back and clean up this, the first audio piece I posted here.  As it happens, this is also my voiceover demo, so if you know anyone who might be interested (hint hint)...

Enjoy!

 Every Eight Seconds by Henry Gaudet

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why I Write

Another "new to here" post.  

If you're interested, you can still find this one, along with a lot of other good stories in the 2010 Writing4All Anthology:

http://originalwriting.ie/bookshop/fiction/general-fiction/writing4all-the-best-of-2010/

Check it out, and tell 'em Henry sent you.

No, it won't get you a discount.  Sorry.



Why I Write

by Henry Gaudet



Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. They had a place in the Middle of Nowhere, a few acres of woods and a small lake. Thirty or forty years on, thanks more than anything to a mythic sense of nostalgia, that place seems idyllic now, my own personal Narnia, my Hundred Acre Wood. But all that came later, after being fitted for my grown-up pair of rose-coloured glasses. Back then, it was just Grandma's.

Grandma's did indeed lie over the river and through the woods, where neighbours were friendly, but far flung and rare. Back then, the world was just a little bit bigger, and the Middle of Nowhere a little further from the Edge of Anywhere.

Not a lot of company for a young boy who wanted to play.  There weren't any other kids for miles around. My sister was there, but well, she was my sister, so clearly that wasn't an option. I was going to have to find another way to amuse myself.

What I did have was one big honkin' playground. The woods were filled with trails and hidden clearings to explore. The rest would have to come from imagination.

And so, during my time there, I chased monsters, fended off super villains and cosmic disasters, and generally defended the world from Bad Things which tended to show up in the woods, just out of sight of the house.

Between alien invasions and crime waves, I spent my time drawing. Sometimes, I illustrated my own courageous deeds, or came up with new adventures based on these earlier exploits. Sometimes, I just drew stuff I saw on Saturday morning television. I went through my share of crayons, markers, pencils, the odd bits of chalk, just about anything that would leave a mark.

There was no doubt that stories were going to matter to me. There was just no escaping it. But the clincher, the deal-closer, the reason I decided that I would have to tell my own stories, that was Grandad.

Late one evening, just a little before bedtime, I was sitting on the front porch swing, watching the fireflies and looking for all the world like a scene out of Andy Griffith. Grandad came out and joined me, sitting in his rocker. We sat there in the twilight for a few minutes before he lit up a cigar and he started to tell me a story.

He spun this amazing tale, about a farmer with a talking dog who fended off giants and dragons and became a hero by accident. It was funny and scary and magical, and he had me hooked from the very beginning. It was years later that I learned the story wasn't his own.

Tolkein's Farmer Giles of Ham was one of Grandad's favourite books. He knew the story by heart, well enough to tell me off the top of his head and make it his own.

Grandad would tell me lots of stories over the next few years. Some were his, some weren't. Over the course of a summer, we followed the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. He told me stories over the dying embers of campfires and in the flash of thunderstorms, stories of Arthur and Perseus and Coyote. He told me stories of his youth, the kind of true stories that never really happened.

He showed me how to make magic.

Of course, over time, kids outgrow Neverland. Mostly. Oral storytelling will always be something special to me, but I adore a well told story, regardless of the medium. A good story, out loud, in print, or on the big screen, is still magical and can bring me right back to that porch swing.

I’ve spun a few yarns of my own over the years, but it’s only recently that I began to create my own stories that might be worthy of the fireside.  Stories to share with my little boy, and stories to share with strangers.  I took the scenic route, but I was always going to wind up here. 

It's in the blood.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Universe,


There seems to be a bit of confusion. My fault, really.


As you might recall, I said a while back that I’d like to be a “writer”. Now, granted, there are a number of ways that might be taken. For instance, I was literate at the time, so I could have been justified in dusting off my hands, saying “Job done” and wandered off to the fridge for a self-congratulatory beer.


Instead, I set off down a likely path and started stringing words together in the hopes that they would all come together to make a story, then trying to convince others that I had in fact made a story worth reading and paying for the privilege.


Yeah. Turns out, that’s hard, and not at all what I had in mind.


You see, I said I wanted to be a writer. I never said anything about writing. I was looking for something a little more Great Gatsby. You know, that guy with the elbow patches and an open calendar, the one who tends to show up in guest spots on all those old TV mystery shows.


That guy.


Not Too-old-to-be-the-starving-young-artist-typing-between-family-and-work-and-no-you-probably-haven’t-seen-me-in-anything-unless-you-followed-that-link-I-just-posted. That guy has to work. There’s no way he’d have the time for leisurely drinks by the marina, much less helping Matlock or Quincy or Fletcher solve a murder.


Thanks for giving this your full attention. I have some requests on the whole Rich & Famous thing too, but if we can sort this out first, the rest should go a bit smoother.


Cheers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!!

Hey, gang!

Yeah, yeah, I'm a few days early.  I just couldn't wait.

A very special episode, featuring a special guest reader.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

At Least There Weren't Any Disney Princesses

Just before turning in, my wife likes to check the news.  All part of the bedtime ritual.  Last night, she spotted a headline that she had to share with me.  Apparently, there was some poll rating the top screen siren (their words, not mine) of all time, and Jessica Rabbit topped the list.

Okay. 

Seemed like an unusual choice to me, but my wife thought it was downright weird, and I think she thought that it was weird that I didn’t think it was weirder.  “She’s a cartoon.  You know that, right?  A cartoon.  She’s not real.”

I looked over the list.  Hayworth, Hepburn, Monroe.  All the usual suspects, and a toon.

I’ve been accused from time to time of being the devil’s advocate, mostly by my wife, but it's a popular opinion.  Now I’m not saying that’s true, but I should probably mention that I am on infernal retainer.

“Well, she’s not any less real than anyone on that list.  Not to me.  They’re all just pictures on a screen.  Every last one of 'em.  Jessica’s just a little more… stylized.”  

After all, the whole siren thing is a bit of a cartoon.  These aren’t real women.  They’re caricatures.  Go on, tell me Marilyn Monroe’s not a cartoon!

So sure, why not?  Why not let the most cartoonish lead the pack?  After all, that’s what she was made for, to be The Siren, every smouldering Hollywood starlet that ever was, all rolled up and crammed into that impossible silhouette.

That conversation led, of course, to the “How would you rank them” conversation.  I’m not a big fan of musicals or of Hollywood’s Golden Age, so it wasn’t easy. 

For those of you who’d like to play along at home, here’s the list.

1.         Jessica Rabbit
2.         Audrey Hepburn
3.         Marilyn Monroe
4.         Raquel Welch
5.         Ursula Andress
6.         Elizabeth Taylor
7.         Grace Kelly
8.         Rita Hayworth
9.         Ingrid Bergman
10.       Vivien Leigh

Okay, Ingrid Bergman takes the top spot hands down, and I gave Andress second place for those three seconds walking out of the surf in Dr. No, but after that?  Meh. 

I love cartoons.  Always have, always will.  I just don’t love cartoons.  Even the ones that weren’t drawn.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Galatea In Brass Revisited

So I finally worked out how to do this without pictures! 




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Galatea In Brass

I've finally got some original fiction here for you.


Enjoy!


 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just a Guy

“Osama Bin Laden’s dead.”

To be honest, I was expecting something like “Good morning” or “The kettle’s just boiled.”  Instead, my wife greeted me with “Osama Bin Laden’s dead.”

They found him and they killed him.  I sat down with my wife and we did the tour of 24 hour news channels.  Of course, everyone was covering it and had been for hours, but it all came back to this seven word soundbyte.  They found him and they killed him. 

I saw reports from New York, of celebrants cheering in the streets at Ground Zero.  All things considered, I suppose it was fairly restrained, somewhere between a touchdown dance and “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.”

Cheering a death, even this one, doesn’t sit right with me, but I get it.  This is the man we hold ultimately responsible for the attacks on September 11th.  This is the mastermind who took 3000 lives and turned the world upside down, the man who set the events of the past decade in motion. 

I get it, but I can’t share it.  I keep thinking to myself, “He’s just a guy.”

In our minds, we made him into some sort of super villain, a Blofeld for the new millennium.  It’s easy to imagine him in his secret mountain hideaway, directing the fall of the Western World from the shadows, with a legion of loyal agents ready to act on his orders at a moment’s notice. 

Instead, we find a man living in isolation and relative comfort hiding under his hunters’ collective nose, a man whose contribution to the struggle had become largely symbolic.  To his followers, he was an inspiration.  His continued existence, a confirmation that the enemy can be defied.  For those enemies, he had become a ghost, a boogieman. 

The death of Osama Bin Laden will not slow the operations of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.  In fact, as a martyr, he may very well continue to serve as a powerful symbolic leader.  The recent events in the Middle East are likely to do more to harm Al Qaeda, revealing peaceful uprisings and popular revolts as more effective instruments of change. 

His death does nothing to slow the actions of terrorist organizations, and yet the order was given.  Had to be given.  Osama Bin Laden has enormous symbolic power in America as well.  He was the Big Bad Wolf, the monster lurking in the dark.  The dragon had to be slain.

Given the choice, I would have preferred to see him captured.  I would have seen him stand trial and convicted and punished, not out of devotion to the rule of law, but to reveal him as Just a Guy. 

Not a Monster.  Not a Giant.  Just a man.  One who committed unjustifiable acts and was made to pay for them. 

That didn’t happen.  Instead, they found him and they killed him. 

I won’t mourn his passing.  I won’t celebrate either.  For me, this is a somber and solemn moment, to reflect on the death of some guy I never met, and what that means for those of us who are still here.




Monday, May 2, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Should

I was hoping to have something new for you by now.  This isn't exactly new, but the reading is, so that counts, right?


Right?


Ah well, old, new or something somewhere between, I hope you enjoy.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Is a Test

It's no secret that I'm a fan of audio fiction and radio drama.  I've decided I'd like to make the shift from spectator (auditator?) to participant, and so I've taken my first timid steps in that direction.  After I work my way through the basics of sound editing, I hope to have a story for you, but in the meantime, I've been playing with this short demo:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Someone Else

Hmm?  Sorry, have you been waiting long?

Yeah, I haven't done a whole lot of blogging lately.  The holidays are partly to blame, along with my resolution to spend more time writing for profit (no offence). 

So here I am, six weeks into the new year without a single post, and none coming up in the near future.

So I did what any good blogger does.  I subcontracted.

Lucky for me, Rebecca Hosier, my ever so charming and talented niece (steady, fellas - I may not be Daddy, but I do overprotective just fine, thanks) has agreed to help out by sharing a piece of her own.  If you're expecting an overexcited teenage dose of celebrity gossip and LoL Cats, guess again. 

Enjoy


The Israeli and Palestinian Conflict
by Rebecca Hosier

If you watch the news at all you have probably heard that something is going on over in Israel. You may not know specifics, but you vaguely remember hearing that something bad is happening. There has been fighting over Israel, former Palestine, for decades. It seems the media only covers half the story. Let’s take a look at the rest of it. Let us have a peek the injustices happening on the other side of the wall.

One thing you may not have heard much about is the separation wall. The separation wall is an eight meter high wall that stretches for 403 miles, weaving in and out of Palestinian territory. The U.N. created a green line that the wall was supposed to follow. It would fairly split the country in half.

The wall is only 20% on the green line. This said wall is supposed to protect the Israeli people; sadly it does much more than that. The wall divides family property, separates brother from brother and farmer from field. Also if your house is within fifty feet of the wall you are in risk of having it demolished. If your house is still standing you are then at risk of being shot at from the soldiers stationed on the wall. Tell me how this is protection.

In the states we take water for granted. We take long showers, we leave the faucet on while brushing our teeth and doing the dishes. But what does it matter? We won’t run out of water.

That is not the case in Palestine. Most of the water sources are on the Israeli side of the wall, so the Palestinians must buy the water. Each house has big barrels on the roof for water storage. The family will get only enough water to fill the number of barrels in which they own. If this isn’t bad enough there is no schedule for when the water is delivered. So when the water runs out it is possible the family will have to go days without water for showers, dishes or laundry, things we do daily without thinking about.

Medical care is something else we as Americans take for granted. If we aren’t feeling well then we just call up the doctor’s office and set up an appointment. It is that easy.

In one refugee camp, Ida camp, there is one doctor. He is there for six days a week for six hours a day and that is all. He has eleven thousand possible people to care for. If you were in need of emergency care and had to go to a hospital you would need to go to Israel.

To do that you’d need to go through checkpoints. Checkpoints are places between Israel and Palestine. They are manned by soldiers that check for the correct papers before they let you pass. Checkpoints are also for protection, to make sure nothing or no one “suspicious” goes into Israel.

Without the right papers you have no hope of passing through. Even with the right papers it is possible access will be denied. If the soldiers manning that checkpoint are having a bad day they are allowed to take it out on you by not letting you through.

Because of this dozens of babies are born at checkpoints every year. There are villages that because of checkpoints emergency response time has gone from ten minutes to one hundred and ten minutes. In some places at night it is impossible to have any emergency response because the checkpoints close.

Now you have heard some of the injustices happening, injustices that have become part of the Palestinian’s daily lives. Should any human being be forced to live this way? Organizations, such as World Council of Churches and Amnesty International, help the many people who are living under oppression. What can you do to help people all over the world who are mistreated and oppressed?